Operation Concrete

So, whilst I've been working on the project, the revisions to the novel itself and doing my regular job, I've been trying to test out the the different print on demand services that are available on the internet. As this whole thing is an experiment in P.O.D and how good you can get the final product, branding and distribution, I need to give the big three a go. I've tried Blurb, and whilst their software was a bit of a pain, the service was great and the end product was of high quality. The major downfall of Blurb is that they cannot give you and ISBN or any online retailer distribution with their service, which is a bit of a pain, once they've got that sorted, I'll look at their service again.

Now on to Lulu, the big one. Really,  at the moment Lulu is the middle ground market leader when it comes to P.O.D. They're getting most of the hype, and a lot of customers. Personally, I think their distribution networks are set, they've got reasonable prices and so I just needed to see their product. I have to say for blogger disclosure that Lulu have principally Lulu have agreed to give me reduced rates on Operation Concrete, however, for this test product, I did pay full price as anyone would normally.

Okay, so their range of books is pretty comprehensive, but for my liking too big. Blurb have a really good 4.75" by 7.75" size, which I thought was a great size for paperback novel. Now, Lulu on the other hand, has a great range, but the smallest, biggest one they've got is actually too big for my liking. So I went with their smallest, 'Pocket size' which is  4.25" x 7" so not a massive drop really.

Their software, this was a better experience for the text side of things by far. All your editing is done in whatever your wordprocessing programme is, converted to PDF and uploaded. This proved all round to be a much more pleasent way of doing things. Their cover design process however was a pain. Maybe it was just me, but I couldn't find the specifications for their bleed measurements. They had resolution of image, but bleed was none existant, which meant you'd have to create an image, upload it, see if it fit in the bleed margins, if it didnt, edit it with guess work and re-upload. This was a pain in the arse truth be told, but I got around it eventually.

So here's the novel.

Operation Concrete - From lulu.com

Operation Concrete - From lulu.com

It looks pretty good actually. The paper quality is slightly less than that of Blurb, but the pricing is also cheaper. Overall I'm pretty happy with the product and I'm almost 100% sure I'm going to go with these guys to do the project with. However, the cover is laminated, which makes it prone to finger prints and gives it a slightly cheap look.

The final P.O.D service that needs trying is Create Space by Amazon. Those guys seem like the most pro-service you can use, but we'll see how easy they are and how good the product is soon hopefully.

In other exciting news, I did a reading as part of Oxford Fringe festival's 'new voices' talk, and I pulled a bigger crowd than Jeffery Archer, how awesome is that?